Wearing a mask. This is not about what you think it is about.

AKA: My Mask Post – not about physical PPE but about mental PPE

I recently listened to an podcast in which an old friend spoke of how she felt during middle school and high school years, and how she was able to blossom once she felt ‘recognized’ and found her people. I am one of those people she found and recognized her. I do not think she knows she helped me as much as I may have helped her. I think that as much was done for me as was done for her. I too was recognized and found my people. It helped me to shed my mask. This was possibly the first time I found my authentic self and luckily it was a planned accident.

Today some 40 years later, I do not wear a mask, (well today in pandemic 2020 I do), however the figurative mask is gone. I do play different roles through my day and and often have to pivot from role to role in a second. Often stepping into different shoes for each role. I happen to have a huge shoe collection). There is a big difference though in my actions of today vs. 40 years ago.

Today, I get to do this with authenticity. I have figured out who I am and I try to stay consistent to myself. It is not easy but I do it. I need to thank Alisa Cohn for her podcast interview for helping me to remember that we all are a bit lost.

Here is the important part, I know that I am still growing and evolving, I know that we all still have work to do on ourselves and I know that my mask still is in my back pocket. I just do not need to put it on as much.

I like knowing that I need to still grow and I like knowing that I have the comfort that I still can wear my mask. The big benefit is that I can learn from every experience I have to grow a bit more. I am striving to be my authentic self. It is not easy.

So, what is the take away of my rambling?

  1. Try to figure out when you learned ‘who’ you are and follow your own growth.
  2. Do not shed who you were, even if you did not like yourself, it is part of what made you.
  3. Are you authentic every day?
  4. Are you (am I?) willing to grow and change?
  5. Be kind to others along the way.
  6. Recognize that we are always growing and may, at times, need our masks. However, also recognize when you need it and learn from it.
  7. Get comfortable being uncomfortable it is how we grow.
  8. And WEAR YOUR FACE MASK! It is 2020 and you need it to take care of others around you.

What do we mean when we say “I’m Fine”?

I recently read that if you are going in neutral you are actually going down hill. It makes complete sense to me. If I am just coasting I am not growing. Life is full of ups and downs and we all experience them personally and professionally.

Given the current situation we are all living with, if we all make a bit more of an attempt to be better than fine we will lift each other. If you are feeling just fine, what little thing can you do to be better than fine?

Let’s all try each day to do something better than fine!

Use your ears to listen and your Heart to hear

It is pretty simple – there is so much noise lately and it is hard not to hear it all. What are you doing with what you hear?

It is also hard not to make your own noise. The question for me is if my noise is helpful and coming from the heart, or just noise. How do I express my disgust for how we are treating each other and still treat others well? Not always easy.

I believe in noise that makes a difference, and I believe in positive non- violent protest, I believe in being kind, I believe in communication.

We have to be careful with our words and actions. Are they coming from the heart or are they meant to hurt? Are we acting out of a reflex? Is that reflex a thoughtful one or is it a first reaction? Does your first reaction create other reactions that are not healthy?

I feel that we are seeing too many gut reactions that are spinning out of control – we are not hearing in our heart. Please think about how you hear (it is not easy) and if we all take a moment to adjust and help be part of the solution we will all be heading in a better direction.

A friend of mine once said to me – If you can’t Help someone don’t Hurt them. Pretty simple, right?

Yes, I am smiling under my mask.

There is no time better to practice optimism and kindness. We all know we are experiencing something that is unprecedented. I like to think that we are doing our best to get through this as a society. However that does not mean I am happy with what is going on. I am happy that we are working together to keep everyone healthy and safe – both at home and at work. In fact, in many ways my job has become essential and I am seeing how companies are caring for employees.

There is plenty I miss and one of the things I really miss is a kind nod or hello from a stranger. That smile you give (or get) when you are on an elevator with others, or when someone smiles because you held a door open. Trust me they are there still. I know we are worried and there is plenty of concern. There is also room for optimism for how we will interact when this is all over. I hope we will be more understanding and kinder. I think we will. I hope we will smile more so people can see you smile.

So, in case you were wondering, and in case I run into you soon, yes, I am smiling at you under my mask.

Oh and thank you Jordana my eternal optimist for the theme —

These are not my words – But they are appropriate for today —

This poem was written in 1869, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic. It is timeless and timely!

And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply

Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal

And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

Reprinted during Spanish flu
Pandemic, 1919

Passover Bondage 2020

Passover has been my favorite Jewish holiday for a long time. If we look past all the rituals, the food, the celebrations (I love them all) we have an important lesson.

We were slaves – all of us, not just Jews – but we are all slaves to something, and we also enslave others sometimes physically and more often emotionally. Simply by being stubborn or self righteous we are enslaving others by being controlling and not being open to ideas. So this brings us to Passover 2020

Passover 2020 – we are all  in bondage (not just the Jews – but all of us)– being locked down and following the stay at home rule, the virus has put us into bondage. While in this situation, we must think of others and how this Covid-19 Bondage is treating them: Are they alone? Are they safe? Can they cope?

What are you doing differently than you did when we were free of the worry we now live with? Are you making your screen time more meaningful through face -time conversations? Are you learning a new skill? Are you taking walks with family and friends with the proper social distancing? Are you communicating differently with the people you are in bondage with so you all make it through the day?

My guess is we are all doing one of the above – what will you continue to do when we are past this? How are you connecting with people differently to continue to build and strengthen your relationships?

When we are free, what will you do to make the world a better place?

Positivity in Isolation

While we are all figuring out the new normal, I thought I would share some positivity and ways that my clients and partners are staying positive through the day:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Your smiles are contiguous

Take a break from working and take a walk or workout. FaceTime with a friend or family member that you can’t see in person right now. Listen to music that gives off the same mood you want to be in. Look through old pictures during a happy time in your life. We’ll get through this!

Keep the windows open as much as possible – fresh air makes all the difference!

I’m healthy and employed! I’m home to cook dinner every night.
My kids are living a simpler /80s childhood…riding bikes, playing outside, sleeping in a fort they made. No scheduled activities is a breath of fresh air.

Create a new morning routine, I started a 30 day yoga challenge

No commute means extra time to learn something new! I decided to try learning embroidery!

Commute time is now home gym workout time!

Getting up each morning and doing a work out keeps me from going crazy! Makes me forget about what’s going on in the world just for an hour

No more getting up at 4am to hit my spin class. I can work out on my lunch break.

I get to spend time with my 15 1/2 year old Yellow Lab. Granted she’s sleeping most of the day, but comforting for us both that we can spend this time together. 🙂

Through my home office window, got to see a family of 4 deer hang out in my back yard woods ALL DAY. Experiencing some moments of the beauty of nature on a work day… priceless.

Adopting a puppy! You’ll never have time to be stressed about anything other than what he has in his mouth 🙂

Do at least 1 thing from your childhood per day – drawing with chalk.

Getting some extra zzz’s in and afternoon walks when it’s sunny with my daughter!

Trying to keep a schedule helps get through the day; make sure you take breaks and stretch so you aren’t sitting at home all day in front of your computer; find something to laugh about or smile about during the day to relieve stress

I lost 4-5 pounds because I eat more at home and control what I eat better! Yippee for me!

Our pets have never been happier!!

I’m not rushing home at the end of the day to get the kids fed and to bed. Our weekends are more relaxing without having to run around doing errands or going to swim lessons etc.

Families are spending time with each other, instead of going separate ways to events, gatherings, etc.

Best Practice and Acceptance

We have all received hundreds of important email responses from our communities and business partners about how they are addressing the New Normal – they are all good (some better than others) . Are we at a point that we are reading them all? Are we deleting more than we are reading? From NetFlix, UBER, PayPal, Amazon, the local city you live in, your gym, virtual yoga classes almost any business or APP you have registered for. I love that the world is responding and I do not discount a single email. My message is simple and one we are trying to observe in my house:


Practice:

Kindness

Care for others

Understanding 

Patience

Acceptance

Hygiene

Distances

Listening (and hearing)

Laughing

Accept

Unexpected challenges

Others fears and obstacles

Your own fears and challenges

We are all doing this together. It is a new reality for all of us a temporary New Normal, that is changing rapidly.  What we thought we could do (last week, yesterday, an hour ago) may not be the same in an hour.  We are doing everything we can to mitigate the challenges that are put on us all worldwide.

Keep up the good fight and please send me your ideas on positivity, we all need it!

The Grass is Always Greener – is a bad way to live!

The Golden Calf, A Trojan Horse, The Grass is Always Greener….

None of these are good ways to lead your life. We control how green the grass or the value of the gift horse. If you simply covet what you don’t have and think that it is always better on the sunny side of the street, than you will live in shadows.

Make your sunshine and always be ready to make it brighter.

Remember that what you currently have may be perfect and you may destroy it by not appreciating what you have.

Somewhere between beginner and expert…..

Are you an expert or a beginner, or more importantly which do you want to be?

How about striving to be an Expert Beginner or a Beginning Expert? If you are an Expert you may be also communicating that you know it all and that there is no room to learn more. To me that is too limiting, things change and experts have to adapt and change.

No matter how good we are at anything – we can still get better, or more importantly, we must still be willing to accept changes and be willing to get better.

A true expert is always getting more expertise!

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